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2013-12-20T09:55:00 Updated 2015-02-18T23:15:10

Big Sam on: Manchester United

Sam Allardyce has spoken to the gathered media ahead of West Ham United's Barclays Premier League match against reigning champions Manchester United on Saturday.

Big Sam fielded questions about Wednesday's win against Tottenham Hotspur in the Capital One Cup, Modibo Maiga and David Moyes' start to life as United manager.

Morning Sam, any team news for us ahead of Saturday?

SA: "The only addition to the squad from Wednesday night will be James Tomkins. He's recovered from a groin injury, he'll join in training this morning and if there's no reaction then he'll join the squad to go to Manchester United. The rest of the players are recovering from their gallant efforts on Wednesday night and are hopefully ready to put in a similar performance at Old Trafford. We can take a lot of satisfaction out of Wednesday's result and I just hope I can get the same reaction for a very big Premier League game at Old Trafford. As difficult as it is for us, it's not beyond what we can do if we get everything right like we did on Wednesday."

How much can you take from the result on Wednesday given the circumstances you were in?

SA: "Players play to win and when they win they feel so much better, life is so much better for them. We've not won as many games as we should have done in the Premier League and that's left everybody a little down. When you win such a game as at your local rivals, who are such a big club these days, then it does lift everybody but you must use and take that into the next game and make sure you deliver the same performance again. Whether it gets the result at Old Trafford or not, who knows? Manchester United we all know, if they're on song, on top of their form on that particular day it could be very difficult for us.

"We have to go and deliver that type of performance and resilience again and if we can be as clinical in front of goal as we were on Wednesday night, even though the opposition territorially and possession wise were far better than we were. We had more shots on target than they did and shots on target ultimately lead to goals. We limited them to a few shots on target and when we went up the other end we did the business. We had eleven attempts at goal, seven on target and scored two goals. The top line's always the most important and it's got us through to a big semi-final."

What could that goal do for Modibo Maiga's confidence?

SA: "Hopefully it'll kick him on. Goals come in a flurry sometime for forwards and hopefully the next chance that comes his way he'll be as good as was on Wednesday night. He was very unfortunate that it wasn't two. The way he carved out the second attempt at goal, that rattled the bar, showed the ultimate ability and shooting power that he's got. We want to see more of it; more end product and hopefully then it will help us get more results. Hopefully he can kick-on for himself, kick-on for us because we've been desperate for someone to start putting some goals in upfront. I think Rav's still our leading goal scorer with three so we need somebody to start regularly putting the ball in the back of the net, and I hope it's him."

What do you make of David Moyes' start to life at Manchester United?

SA: "Semi-finals of the Capital One Cup, qualified winners of their European group and unfortunately for him, a league position that he wouldn't have wanted but obviously he'll face the task as he knew it was going to be a difficult takeover period from Sir Alex. Old Trafford particularly is where he wants it to be the fortress that Sir Alex always seemed to make it and on occasion that hasn't seemed to happen for him. David will be planning as always to get the right team out to beat us and go on from there. Like everybody says, the transition cannot happen overnight and it's like every manager there's a transitional period that you've got to try and get through before you make your own mark on it. For him, at the moment I don't think it's quite as bad as everyone makes out."

They've lost their last two home games, do you think Old Trafford's lost a bit of its aura this year?

SA: "You've stacked the odds against us there! Looking back at Manchester United's history when was the last time that Manchester United lost three home games on the trot? What the odds be for that? It's not what Manchester United or David Moyes wants to do or the players in fact. On that basis, knowing Manchester United players, their desire and determination to win that game will be greater against us.

"That will focus them even more and make sure that when they come of they've beat us. We have to make sure we match their desire and determination and the tactical organisation we showed against Tottenham. The key element will be, if you get a chance try and score, see if there's any frailties that may come out in Manchester United. I expect a tough match and I expect Manchester United to make sure they go all out to win. In our position I expect us to go and play our best within the tactical structure that we need to."

Do you think Ravel Morrison feels he has a point to prove going back to Manchester United?

SA: "He probably would, if selected. My concern is that if he is going to play, if I do select him, then don't try and win the game by yourself. This is a team game and if you want to win it play as a team, not as an individual."

Do you think his form is getting close to what he was showing at the beginning of the season?

SA: "I think his form, to be honest with you, has dipped a little bit. That's only to be expected for such a young man who hit such great heights when he arrived in the team. His average performance in terms of all of his stats has gone down. He needs to pick that back up and kick back on to where he was after two or three games in the first team and then improve it from there. You expect a dip from a youngster somewhere along the line and it's our responsibility to pick him back up, move him forward and improve him again. He's a hugely talented player and we want to have his ability not in flashes but to have it as constant as possible."

With such a busy schedule coming up, how do you approach coping with games coming thick and fast with a small squad at your disposal?

SA: "It'll be using the members of the squad, even though small, that are available on a regular basis. To ask the same eleven players to get through that period and not change is an impossibility in today's modern-day football by the huge amount of physical effort and mental fatigue that players suffer in a game situation. The game is so fast and ferocious with so much pressure on the players that fatigue levels are at their highest.

"Our programme changes completely where training is virtually non-existent and it's travel, recover, play, travel, recover, play and we have to spend a lot of time doing our tactical analysis. The training ground is only a matter of re-energising the players and getting the blood flowing through the system again and getting ready for the next battle. By the time we've finished January we will have had a massive game programme and we hope that by the end of January we are one, in the final of the Capital One Cup and two, not in the same position in the league. That will be my ultimate late Christmas present."

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